10 Telltale signs of (my) Abusive Marriage

This is one of those “don’t forget, don’t look back” posts… to remind myself, and others. There will be a follow up post to this that is brimming with positivity and corrective measures, I promise!! Right now I’m just feeling the need to recount… in order to heal from it.

It was probably about a month ago, maybe more, that I left the house in tears, desperate crazy flowing tears, to drive myself off a cliff, or into a wall, or into the lake…. (I didn’t, obviously, but that feeling was getting all too familiar.)

I was constantly feeling so trapped, so miserable, so hurt, so brutalized, so assassinated – that I was losing my will to live. J would be raging, and usually have brought or daughter into it somehow so that is was them vs. me (in his mind). I thought if I exited, she might be saved, because I was the problem.

A while before that, probably a few months, I had brought a belt down to the basement and tried to figure out how to hang myself.

Thankfully, I couldn’t figure it out, but that re-enforced my feeling of being a total and complete failure, as he told me many times that I was. I was a worthless piece of shit. Couldn’t even figure out how to off myself. He’d even have to figure that out for me……. I was that useless. 

As I look back on it, I wonder what was it about the situation that made me want to die? Not leave town (couldn’t, daughter), not drink (been there done that), not run to the arms of another man (no thank you). I wanted desperately to die. To kill the pain. It was the result of MANY, MANY red flags compounded and ignored over the years.

———— Brutal! And guys, let me just temper this with a little character explanation….  I have never been a suicidal person AT ALL. There was this one time in high school that I slept with my window open in winter because I was so upset about something I just hoped the winter wind would ‘take me’ — LOL — that was as close as I had ever come to feeling suicidal. *comic relief?? takes deep breath*

So how on earth, many years later, did I end up with a man who valued me so little, and de-valued me so actively that I wanted to kill myself?

I know that people who have been in marriages like mine will identify with that feeling of losing themselves…. it’s the slow transformation from reality as you knew it to this other state – almost constant bewilderment and confusion. Self-doubt. An utterly crumpled sense of self – and a vague memory of who you used to be – or thought you were.

I felt crippled, up until a few weeks ago. When he was taken away.

I’m still working through how I got to that terrible place. And I’ve only had one therapy session which is about 24 shy of how many I probably need right now!!!

But my early sense of it is this – and please let it be a warning to anyone in a similar position. It is a mix of things that I did and he did, resulting in a terrible, terrible state of affairs:

10 Telltale sign of (my) Abusive Marriage

1. He called me names like useless, selfish, black hole, and regularly reminded me what a worthless person I was. He openly disregarded my feelings, including when I lost a close family member last year. He would say things like “poor you” to mock how I felt. RED FLAG

2. I allowed huge violations of myself by apologizing, rationalizing, placating, forgetting, absolving, and otherwise loving him after treating me like garbage.

3. He demonstrated no remorse for having hurt me, ever.

4. I did not stand up for things that were a part of me; friendships, music, movies, experiences.

5. He made no effort to improve himself or the relationship, but actively complained about me and my character. For years. Our old therapist called his behaviour ‘constructive dismissal’ – a form of termination by hostility. 

6. I ignored my own instincts in favour of excuses. He was stressed, he was depressed…. it would get better….

7. He escalated fights in his own mind, and would come back to things after a rest angrier. Sometimes months and years later, he would still be able to jump right in to previous fights with no sign of calming/forgiving/forgetting…. If a topic came up in a restaurant, he would yell at me in the restaurant. It happened many times.

8. I used deflection and defence instead of assertiveness, most of the time. My poor attempts to say ‘not ok’ fell on deaf, angry ears.

9. He was consistently attracted to me and loyal to me, but not respectful of me. Major mind fuckage territory.

10. I regularly felt suicidal. Because together, with my permission and his behaviour, we were complicit in the slow and purposeful assassination of me. Myself and my soul. And PEOPLE – anyone still suffering – there is nobody in the whole wide world who can stop that but you. You are yours, and you are the only steward of your own ship. Steer it well. Take care. There is life after toxic love. Real life, real love….. shouldn’t hurt at all, nevermind hurt so bad you want to die.